382114 What Can We Learn from Students Using Facebook?
Over the past two decades, we have witnessed a remarkable growth in the internet and its usage across the globe. Furthermore, rapid advances in digital technology have allowed the internet to become more readily accessible, becoming a part of our everyday life. In recent years, social network sites (e.g. Facebook) have provided a new means of interaction and communication between individuals and groups. This has percolated through the education system mainly via the students. We are now starting to realise the potential for Facebook to be used for educational purposes; largely due to its desirable qualities which replicate other existing educational tools that allow peer feedback, possess good interaction tools, and fit into the social context of learning environments. This work investigates the extent to which Facebook is currently used in engineering education, the factors that motivate educators and students to use Facebook for study purposes, and whether Facebook is used as ‘communities of practise’ or mostly as social spaces.
The extent to which Facebook is used in the Chemical Engineering course at Monash University is presented in here. Results from a student survey carried out across different years are presented and ideas of how facebook could be further used as an education tool discussed. Similarly, limitations of using Facebook and the expectations raised by students will be presented. The outcomes of this work will serve as basis to determine if Facebook has a place within engineering education, and what of its features could prove to have a positive impact in the students’ learning experience.